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Posted at 11:27

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Is this "The One"?

Posted at 09:45

For those oblivious to the recent e-hype developing frenzied opinion on forums, blogs and technology sites, where have you been?!?
The Elonex One (shown above) is the main talk of this frenzied opinion, and the latest in a string of budget-priced sub-notebooks to be debuted, with primary interest in the NLI programme. So what makes the One stand out from the EeePC, OLPC, Cloudbook and PixelQi? Originally presented at the Education Show in Birmingham (and captured in action by the BBC), the One is a "sub £100 laptop that gives wireless access to the Internet, e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets", according to their press release. It is this "sub-£100" that is getting most people excited, as none of the above have so far had a price tag to match.

For techno-geeks, the official specs (taken from the Elonex website) are: 7" TFT LCD display; 800x480pix Widescreen, W22cm x L15cm x H3cm; Weight 0.95kg; 300MHz Processor; 128MB memory; Linux OS (Linos 2.6.21); 1GB internal storage; Wi-Fi 802.11b/g; Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0 ports; audio in and headphone jacks; approx 4 hours battery usage.

The weight, size and durability (tough outer shell, splashproofkeyboard) compliment the target audience of not just children and the education sector in general, but "adult learners, business users, people who are constantly mobile, elderly people and first time Internet users".

A distinguishable feature concerns the "removable keyboard" which allows a tablet-style usage, albeit without a touchscreen mode which would have inevitably driven up the price. A mouse emulator is located on the back of the screen (along with most of the other components, thus achieving the 'top-heavy' status), to allow navigation in this case.

The main problems arising for the Elonex One have more to do with aesthetic looks than actual performance, if most comments are to be believed. Indeed there is no shortage of web surfers getting their knickers in a twist over the top-heavy design and "fugly looks" (to quote a few forum responses). This is when I start to boil a little and get tetchy; you can bet your school-boots most of the individuals commenting on the design side of things are not over-spoiled children huffing over what may be this years birthday present. In fact, a lot (of males, I can only presume) are having more fun declaring a war between Blonde vs Brunette, comparing the two models who are photographed advertising the Asus and Elonex notebooks respectively. I can respect the good humour behind it, but really, do these people forget that female geekery exists too? Trying to find a legitimate comment concerning the specs, future plans or accessories proved the needle-in-a-haystack theory yet again, as I waded through masses of "no SHE'S more hot" tripe. Please remember that female geekery does exist!

Although the One bravely states its place in society as 'more than a device for children', one must remember it's primary sector is aimed at...well, primary children! And conversely to what those fashion-conscious business travelers and no-life geeks may think as they scoff at looks which apparently would put them off displaying said goods on public transport (as if the general public really care what gadgetry they submit on a train), I think the portability, price and convenience should over-ride any false conceptions that a less-than-traditional design is automatically an eyesore. Presumably these thoughts are similar to the sorts of no-brain numbskulls I encounter frequently who ask silly questions such as "what's that stud under your lip?" and "did it hurt to have a huge injection followed by a huge silver bar plunged through your tongue?". Just because they cannot understand the beauty behind a piercing does not mean I enjoy the usual mass-fashion that society seems to thrive on, and the same views stand for technology.

However, for all who criticise and praise the Elonex One, only time will tell whether the goods live up to the hype. Of course, I've already placed a deposit on mine - at £99, you can't really go far wrong for a device which is not only going to save my main notebook from scratches and bumps, but rescue my shoulders from the heavy strain of carrying a 15.4" widescreen on my poor back.

The Elonex One is due for release in June 2008, so expect a first-hand review upon delivery. And to those who are still in doubt, remember: don't judge a laptop by its cover!

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